Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Top Questions for Your Life Insurance Agent

Many people would assume that looking into buying life insurance is something that is done once a person has reached a certain age group, like senior citizens. However, anyone really can buy a life insurance plan at any age as an adult. Some people ask why they would need it if they are in good health. Others have whole hosts of other questions. Life insurance is always good to have, because if all conditions are met, it basically acts as a benefit to surviving family members.

An agent consults with people and often has the answers to most questions that people ask about potential coverage and costs. What follows are some of the top things you should ask your life insurance agent about.

How much coverage is needed?

This is one of the first questions asked and it is a very good one. How much coverage a person gets will determine the premiums. The premiums are what are paid every month to keep the policy in effect until the person's life has come to an end. Normally the amount of coverage needed is based on two sets of calculations and can really be answered by yourself, although the agent can help you with this. The calculations that go into this answer are: The amount it will take to pay off all outstanding debts, and the amount needed by the surviving family members to maintain a standard of living.

What sort of policy should be purchased?

Most companies offer several types of plans, others may specialize in just one. Your agent will help you determine, based on your needs, whether you should have term, whole, or variable. Some plans allow you to borrow from your benefit while still living.


Who is the policy under?

This is very important as you need to know who your policy is under, and that company should be researched with regards to its reputation and its strength, and more importantly, will they have the money to pay up once it comes time for the benefits to be paid?


What are the restrictions/exclusions?

Somewhere in the policy will be restrictions or exclusions. Certain modes of death may not be covered, so it is important to know what the limitations are. If you die in a manner that is excluded under the policy, then it is likely your family will get nothing.


Is there a medical exam?

Another very important question here, because sometimes if certain medical conditions exist, coverage may not be attainable or limited further than you want. It is worthy to note that some policies can be had without a medical exam, but obviously they will cost more than the policies that do require medical exams.


Will premiums rise with age?

Many policies have set premiums, so as one ages and gets closer to death, the cost of maintaining the policy does not rise with it. However, if a policy is not renewed and you are older, getting a policy again will likely cost more.


Is the policy renewable?

This relates directly with the above question. Most are renewable, but you need to make sure that you know the renewal deadline so you don't have to re-purchase a policy and risk having a higher premium since you've aged since the first policy was purchased.


These are not all the questions that should be asked, but they are some of the top things you should ask your life insurance agent about. Make sure to read everything and get all your questions answered before signing on the dotted line.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Do you have what it takes to be James Bond?

How to be James Bond

The latest release of Skyfall marked the 50th anniversary of the James Bond 007 film franchise.  Currently Daniel Craig is starring as the legendary 007 British Spy.  Adventure, intrigue, cars, women/men, futuristic gadgets, “saving the world” are all part of the James Bond "cloak and dagger lifestyle".
 
How to be a spy like Daniel Craig 007

This week I started to wonder what it takes to be a real spy.  So in the tradition of James Bond I based this Celebrity English feature on a mixture of MI5 and MI6 security services.   
Here are some of the highlights I found.

Eligibility
Need to be a British citizen of the home country; however there are some exceptions.
21 years old (+).
Able to pass a high Security Clearance.
Pass the medical test; physical and mental.

Personal Attributes
Personal Integrity
Working with Others / Teamwork
Planning and Organizing
Analysis and Problem Solving
Leading and Decision-Making
Communicating
Innovative
Strong Desire to make a difference in the world!


Recruiting Areas
“The roles for which we recruit fall into the following areas:
Degrees ranging from Architecture to Zoology from 36 different universities have joined us as Intelligence Officers over the last two years. We also have opportunities for people with a range of technical, vocational or professional qualifications, from IT or Electronics to Carpentry or Accountancy.”

Common Jobs in the Secret Service
Intelligence Delivery Officers - Collecting, analyzing and reporting global secret intelligence.

Administrators - Assisting with the essential daily running of the organization, through a broad range of administrative tasks.

Technology - ensuring we have secure, innovative IT systems to communicate internationally.

Corporate Services - Working with a range of departments such as HR and Finance.

Language Specialists - Translating raw intelligence in many different languages and dialects from both written and spoken sources.


Benefits
Continued training in your field.
Salary similar to many other organizations. Depends on skill, experience, and performance. 
Pension scheme comparable with the Civil Service.
Maternity and paternity leave.
25 days’ annual leave rising to 30 days after five years service (even a spy needs a few days off!)

Current Employment Vacancies

    Business Analysts
    Business Relationship Managers
    Data and Information Professionals
    Forensic Speech & Language Specialist
    Internet Investigation, Exploitation and Cyber Security
 Specialists
    Portfolio Managers
    Speech Technician
    Strategy, Architecture, IT Security and Testing Specialists
    IT Technical Operations roles
    IT Service Management roles
    Intelligence Officer
    Project Managers
    Service Desk Analyst
    Information Specialist
    Application Support Analysts
    Network Systems Engineers
    Administrator
    Language Specialist
    Transport Supervisors
    Facilities Assistants



So now can you pass the test to become like James Bond?
Here are a few to try out:

(1)Try our Intelligence Officer challenge, which will test your ability to maintain a simple cover story.

(2)Investigative Challenge - Intelligence Officers and Intelligence Analysts

(3)Listening Challenge - English Language Analysts

(4)Digital Intelligence Challenge - Internet Investigation, Exploitation and Cyber Security Specialists


Language Learning Section
Here are some common words you will hear in Spy Movies. Test Yourself for Fun!  What do the following words mean?  Just put a few notes or ideas beside each word. 

Espionage

MI6

CIA

A spy

A terrorist

To do/conduct surveillance

A bug

Cloak and dagger



Answers and More Espionage Vocabulary!

Verbs
to be classified: something that is considered confidential or secret information; need a high level security clearance to view the information.

to do/conduct surveillance: the act of carefully watching someone or something especially in order to prevent or detect a crime.

to stake out: to do surveillance. 

to spy : to watch secretly usually for hostile purposes.

to have one's cover blown: you have been exposed as being a spy.

to keep/maintain a low profile:  to behave in a way that does not attract attention.

to sabotage: something: the act of destroying or damaging something deliberately so that it does.
to destroy something : to cause (something) to end or no longer exist : to cause the destruction of.


Adjectives
undercover: acting or executed in secret; specifically : employed or engaged in spying or secret investigation <an undercover agent/police officer>.

clandestine: done in a private place or way : done secretly. <clandestine activities/organization>.


Nouns
Espionage: ,or spying, involves a government or individual obtaining information that is
considered secret or confidential without the permission of the holder of the information.

a spy:  (1)one who keeps secret watch on a person or thing to obtain information (2) a person employed by one nation to secretly convey classified information of strategic importance to another nation; also : a person who conveys the trade secrets of one company to another.

an operative: a secret agent; a person who works toward achieving the objectives of a larger interest <political operatives>.

a bug: a small hidden microphone (listening device) that is used to secretly listen to and record people.

a conspiracy: an agreement by 2 or more people to commit a crime.

a covert operation : a plan made in a way that is not easily seen or noticed : secret or hidden.

a threat: an expression of intention to inflict evil, injury, or damage.

a bomb: a device that is designed to explode in order to injure or kill people or to damage or something.

terrorism: the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal.

a terrorist: a person who uses or supports the use of terrorism <terrorist activities/attacks/bombings/threats> <a terrorist organization/group/network>.

a sleeper (agent): A sleeper agent is a person who is recruited to an intelligence service to wake up and perform a specific set of tasks or functions while living under cover in an area of interest.

a double agent: a spy pretending to serve one government while actually serving another.


Organizations
MI5: Military Intelligence, Section 5 - the United Kingdom's internal counter-intelligence.

MI6: Military Intelligence, Section 6 - the agency which supplies Her Majesty's Government with foreign intelligence.

FBI: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is a governmental agency belonging to the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency (counterintelligence).

CIA: The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is an independent civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence.

Military: of or relating to soldiers or the armed forces (such as the army, navy, marines, and air force) 


Expressions
behind closed doors:   in private; only the people in the meeting know the information.

cloak and dagger: dealing in or suggestive of melodramatic intrigue and action usually involving secret agents and espionage <a cloak–and–dagger novel>.


Until next week!  Enjoy the Skyfall trailer and the original Dr No.








More James Bond!

Skyfall a Big Hit at the Oscars!
http://celebrityenglish-alex.blogspot.ca/2013_02_24_archive.html





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Monday, 19 November 2012

Get Your Shop On! Black Friday & Cyber Monday


Paris Hilton shopping
Paris Hilton
Black Friday is coming this week on Friday Nov. 23!

Black Friday Shopping!
What is it?
-Prices will be slashed and bargain shoppers will be lining up early at their favorite stores.  Even celebrities like to shop for a deal!

When is it?
Black Friday Calender
 -This American shopping tradition occurs the Day After Thanksgiving (4th Thursday of November).  Not an official holiday but treated like one unless you work in retail.
-Generally 5am start time is pretty standard but some stores will open earlier or even be open all night from Thanks Giving Eve. Check the company's website for times. 

Where is it?
-Everywhere in America and catching on in other countries.
-At your favorite shopping store and at their website.

Who will be there?
-Friends, Family, Everyone!  One of the busiest shopping days of the year in the United States. Expect long line-ups and chaos as people rush to get the best deals!

Why is it called Black Friday?
Black Friday – 2 ideas:
(1)Originally a slang idea/expression coming out of Philadelphia, USA:  Black Friday was used to describe the idea of huge numbers of people and vehicles jammed packed on the streets the day after Thanks Giving. Everything seems black, not moving, and people’s tempers rise bringing out the worst in them. There doesn’t seem to be any light or space.  The term had negative connotations.
(2)Currently, Black Friday, simply invokes an idea of bargain shopping.  It is considered the first day of the Christmas shopping season.  Retailers also claim that this is the first day of the year that their companies make a profit or are ‘in the black’.   So, for retail companies from January 1 to Nov. 22 the stores are considered ‘in the red’ or not making a profit.  These two expressions stem from older accounting practices where black pen ink was used for profit and red pen ink was used to show financial losses.  Thus we have the term Black Friday or the day of the year when retail stores feel they are profitable.

How to get ready for Black Friday!
-Check out your favorite Retail Store for Black Friday Advertisements online and in the local newspapers and flyers.  Moreover, social media like Face book, Twitter, Pinterest, You Tube, etc. is filled with Black Friday fun!  There are also tons of apps out there!  Just select a site you trust!

New to the United States? Here are some common 'Big Store Names' that everyone knows.





























Also online you will find some Dedicated Black Friday Websites like:




Language Learning Section
Some Common Casual Language for talking about what you are buying or looking for on Black Friday.


For the Shopper that knows what she or he wants on Black Friday.
I am going to buy an Ipod.
I am gonna buy a flat Screen TV.
I want to get a new laptop.
I wanna buy a pair of sneakers.
I’m buying a new set of sunglasses.
I’m looking for a bargain on watches.
I’m looking for a deal on coffee makers.


For the shopper with an idea of what he or she wants on Black Friday.
I’m gonna look for a Christmas present for my husband.
I am looking for something new in the way of winter coats.
I am going to take a look at the appliances.
I am going to take a look at what they have in the way of golf clubs.
I might pick up an espresso machine if they have any good deals on.
I think I might buy some new blouses if I see any at a good price.


Didn’t find what you where looking for on Black Friday? No problem!  There is also Cyber Monday!
Cyber Monday  
‘Back in the day’ a lot of people weren’t very keen to shop online or use company websites.  So to fix this problem and capture email addresses, the retail community invented Cyber Monday in 2005.  Cyber Monday occurs every year on the Monday following Thanks Giving Day.  If you don’t believe me check out Amazon’s Cyber Monday Deals.



Well that is all for this week!  Enjoy the shopping experience of Black Friday and Cyber Monday! Oh yeah and of course Thanks Giving with family and Friends!



Happy Turkey Day to you! Gobble Gobble!
Celebrity English Thanks Givning Message
 Connect with Alex at Celebrity English or





Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Why You Should Invest In Food Storage


As today's economy grows more uncertain, and the planet continues to change, we have less certainty about our existence. Without considering the 2012 end-of-the-world predictions, just looking at the natural disasters occurring in the world today it becomes evident that storing some food is a good idea. After all investing in food storage now can mean survival tomorrow.

In the last few years we have seen tragedies like the Haiti earthquake in 2010, the Tōhoku earthquake that caused the tsunami in Japan last year, and the 2012 tornados that ravaged the Midwest. These events are nothing new they have been happening for thousands of years. The only change is how we as people acquire our food. We largely rely on supermarket chains and refrigeration to keep our food supply full and fresh. On top of that, over half of the foods we eat rely on some type of electricity to prevent spoilage and the rest is subject to time.

Not so long ago we stocked our cupboards with non-perishable foods that could supplement our diets. Because the growing trend has been for us to keep fresh foods, we have broken that trend. Now if we ever find ourselves in a situation that this supply chain is broken, we will be subject to starvation. The good news is that there are simple things that we can do to prepare for occasions like this.

Canned foods and meat are a simple way that we can ensure that we have food in times of distress. At one point many homes canned fresh produce for long winters, as our farming methods advanced, and we started using desert areas to grow in our off-season, these techniques have been lost. There are however many companies that still produce canned vegetables and meat. Items like Tuna, Salmon, Corn, and Beans are all great sources of nutrition and readily available in the food isle of your supermarket.

For a more stable source of food, there are many options when it comes to freeze-dried food. You can find a wide variety of fruits and vegetables that have been prepared and packaged using this system of food preservation. There are even full meals that you just need to add water, they taste great and will last for twenty years or more.

With our ever changing planet you can find many reasons to invest in food storage. For every reason you find, there are interesting ways to invest in your security. Without being caught up in the hype associated with the upcoming predictions, it makes sense to store enough food and water for a disaster. Even if the world doesn’t end and you just have a long winter, or a time when work is in short supply, having some extra food in the house in an investment you won't regret.

The above article has posted by Amy Lewis, owner of the finance corner. For more details about Amy you can visit her social media profiles in below mentioned urls:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lewisamy3

G+: http://plus.google.com/u/0/109747796190703640285/posts

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/lewisamy3



Thursday, 8 November 2012

K’Sandra Skyrocketing to the Top!

K’Sandra's Album Cover Light and Dark
K'Sandra Light 'n' Dark Album by Andrei Photography
K’Sandra, the highly acclaimed Dance/Electronica music dynamo is skyrocketing up the charts!! 

  • Dance Artist of the Year with the album “Light 'n' Dark”!
  • The song ‘Push the Girl’ on MTV!
  • A gig at the upcoming Sundance Festival!
  • A hot new double-CD on the way - "Even Lighter - Even Darker"!

K’Sandra is Sensational, Hot, Sizzling, Electrifying, Dance Making & Boundary Shaking!  With an energetic sound synced with a primal baseline, K’Sandra is a DJ favorite. K’Sandra is PUSHING to the TOP!  This Talented Musician & Passionate Lady will not be stopped!

Let’s get an insider’s look at the Lady behind the music!


Interview
Alex: How long have you been in the music business and what got you started?

K’Sandra: Been doing music since first grade and it has been always part of my life, no matter in which stage of life I was it is a part of me. Actively being in the music business I would say I started the real business side of it just maybe 7 years ago with every step of the way being a learning journey. I started singing at a classical conservatory and later on trained with professional vocal coaches around the world, and trained dance professionally and have been always aiming towards making my passion my profession. What got me just simply started was my love for singing and expressing my emotions and feelings and pain that I sometimes carried inside of me thru singing and not thru talking.


Alex: Do you have a creative process you go through when creating a song or album? If so, would you mind sharing it?

K’Sandra: The creative process I go thru when working on a song can be just a tiny inspiration like a hummingbird flying up to me, or a very deep and dark experience that has caused that my life path or current action step needed to be changed.  Or I just simply listen to any song of Michael Jackson still to day and I hear a new song in his song. Or sometimes I am at a great rave and I hear this dominant bass line that is just filling every cell of my body with a great vibration and I feel I get an idea for a song that could be written around that bass line. That is what creation is to me, it's a never ending process of someone or something inspiring you new. When working on an album I tend to set a topic, just like movie people do when they decide to work on a movie, I see the whole concept, the whole packaging, design, story of the album and then pick which songs would be best suiting to the album. It is super important to me that an album tells a whole story and is not just like major labels love to do the best selling singles (3 or 4 of them and the rest crappy filler material). I really hate filler material. I have gotten feedback to my album Light 'n' Dark that each song is a great song and that people feel not cheated when buying my record.


Alex: How many languages do you speak and how many languages do you like to sing in?

K’Sandra: I speak 3 1/2 languages but I sing only in English (for now but I can not wait to record a Spanish single).


Alex: For people trying to find their voice in English, do you have any tips or breathing techniques that might help with talking and pronunciation?

K’Sandra: Intonation is a big thing, it is honestly not an easy thing for a foreigner to sing in English and to sound American or British. Language has been something that fascinated me my whole life and listening to the intonation and where to set the breath/pauses when singing can help a lot and to know which emotion to put into specific words. There are of course many other things relating to breathing techniques but listing those would result in me writing a book here ha-ha.


Alex: Who would you most like to open for or who do like out there in the music world these days?

K’Sandra: I used to always say Madonna when asked that question, but I have to change my mind when seeing on her last tour that she used guns on stage (for sure not real ones but still...), that is something I just don't find cool. I love guns and they are great on the shooting range if used with a smart brain and to train targeting or in a movie on set, but in front of fans???... to show creative expression, I feel that's not cool. Why not use water guns...  Of course I can not say Michael Jackson since he is resting in peace....hm..maybe opening for Sting, or maybe for Bruno Mars. I like a lot of music out there though, it can change every month.


Alex: Now on to your newest video Push the Girl is being played on MTV. What was the inspiration behind the song?

K’Sandra: The song is about pushing thru boundaries and not taking no for an answer (which I have done too often before I realized it's gotten me nowhere but made me unhappy). It is about encouraging to take any action, no matter if your boyfriend or anybody is making you feel bad. Be a tough girl and don't take any shit and let others know not to mess with you even if people think it makes you arrogant or a bitch, it does not hurt to have both sides, a soft one and a rough one.


Alex: If you could open for any musician or music group, who would it be and why?

K’Sandra: As above mentioned, maybe for Sting or Bruno Mars, or maybe for Beyonce, she is a great performer and got a great stage energy.


Alex: What can we look forward to in the future from K'SANDRA?

K’Sandra: I will be releasing a double-CD called "Even Lighter - Even Darker" with some hot, nasty,nice, trancy, dubsteppy, rocky, house, techno, and remixes in 2013 were I will be working with DJs worldwide that submit their best remix of a song of "Light 'n' Dark" and the best ones picked by fans will make it onto the album.
I am also going to work on more songs and will be collaborating with some new people for my 2nd album and I do plan to release some cool merchandise and a new line of essences and maybe even my own brand of water.


Alex: K'SANDRA - you are a strong, passionate, and highly successful musician in a tough industry, what is your motto or mantra?

K’Sandra: If you are ready to go thru death to be re-born, or if you are ready to live the most horrible life to find your truth only then you are ready for success, unless you are Justin Bieber and some major label drops by and gives you a good contract or if you are Rihanna and somebody has a crush on you while vacationing and brings you to the US.... If you really want to pursuit something, no matter what profession it is and you do it for fame or just for money it's the wrong mantra, but if you do anything in your life with the outcome that it can benefit the greater good then you are on the right way.


Alex: What is the best way for people connect with you and your music?

K’Sandra:
K’Sandra Performing on Live!
K'Sandra on Stage-photo by Hayley Sargant
My whole album "Light 'n' Dark" is on iTunes and also on Pandora and of course on www.CDBaby.com/KSandra  
or you can go directly 
thru my own store at  


Alex:  Thank you K'Sandra for taking the time to do this interview! And we will be looking forward to the release of your new "Even Lighter - Even Darker"

K’Sandra: My pleasure Alex!


Until Next Week Enjoy K'Sandra's Push the Girl 
(live at Avec)!


 
Connect with ALEX here at Celebrity English!
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Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Australian Judge Sees the Light, Rules Against S&P

Felix Salmon has a good post saluting Jayne Jagot. The Australian judge (color me amazed) actually took the time to understand what was going on with CPDO securitizations that Standard & Poor's rated AAA and that later tanked. Once she did, she was a bit horrified, one gathers. She ruled that S&P must pay damages to the suckers investors that believed its ratings were professionally derived in good faith.

Here's the "why it matters":
The coverage of the decision (Quartz, FT, WSJ, Bloomberg, Reuters) concentrates, as it should, on the hugely important precedent being set here: that a ratings agency — in this case, S&P — is being found liable for losses that an investor suffered after trusting that agency.
Jagot found that S&P wasn't even "reasonably competent" (actually, the insinuation is they were grossly incompetent). Her decision spans a numbing 635,000 words (context: an average longish novel runs about 100,000).

The upshot: S&P never bothered to develop its own models or assumptions; it just lazily accepted what it was fed by its "boss" (ABN Amro, which paid for the ratings).

One of my favorite parts of the post was actually post-post, in the comment section:
Very good article. The question that you don’t ask is: why is an Australian judge the first to do this research, and what have the SEC and FSA been doing for the last five years?
Indeed.